Vertical Circus provides social circus opportunities to  young people experiencing disadvantage, so that they may change their life circumstances, through earning an income in the circus arts or other industries, utilising skills they have learnt as part of participating in Vertical Circus’ programs.


For the last 7 weeks 13 young people from the City of Sydney area who attend Sydney Secondary College at either the Leichhardt or Balmain Campus have been very active and engaged in the Climb High project. Climb High is run by Vertical Circus in partnership with the Glebe Youth Service hosted at Umbilico Space for Movement, Rosebery and funded by the City of Sydney. Climb High is a social circus program.  Social Circus uses circus as a tool to create positive change in young people’s lives. Artists and trainers, Catherine Daniel and Caitlin Cook have been teaching the youth physical and performance skills to boost their confidence, communication and leadership skills. Central to Climb High is accessibility to such a program to people, who usually would not have access to after school performing arts activities. After two months of weekly workshops participants performed alongside other students and professionals in Umbilico’s inaugural show aptly named “Debut”. “Debut” was a raging success. The audience were very entertained by all the acts. The energy of the youth was bouncing off the walls. Climb High students showcased their newly learnt trapeze, aerial silk and hoop skills as well as their performance prowess and minitramp, tumbling and skipping skills.

Maris, one of the students, is an old hand at the technical aspects of the theatre engaging in audio engineering and lighting courses. Climb High is one of her first performances where she will have the opportunity to shine on the stage.

“I learnt things that I thought I couldn’t possibly do. When I saw people do the tricks on the trapeze and hoop I thought I couldn’t do any of that stuff, but I then learnt those very tricks I thought impossible.” says Maris in year 7

“It gave me opportunities to test my physical boundaries and then further enhance them. I felt at many times that I had to rely not just on my strength but my will power to continue. Once you’ve forced yourself through excruciating exercises, then you find them about as easy as breathing. This allowed me to tune my body into a fine tool for the acts which I performed this Saturday.” say Jhett in year 9

Climb High was also all about team work and a sharing of ideas. As Cecil in year 9 says “It was a really friendly space, we were all allowed to share ideas and communicate together.”  

 Vertcial Circus would like to thank the City of Sydney for their financial support through their community grants program

Rehearsals for "Debut"

Rehearsals for "Debut"

Rehearsals for "Debut"

Rehearsals for "Debut"

Rehearsals for "Debut"

Rehearsals for "Debut"


Read More about the people involved in the project in our "People" Link below.


In the second half of 2014, the Vertical Circus team was hosted by two major Indian circuses; Jumbo Circus and Gemini Circus to build capacity, modernise acts, bring higher production levels,  improve the confidence and presentation of artists and build brand new contemporary style acts.

Read the Jumbo and Gemini Circus Project Report!

Read about our other successfully completed projects

See more Past Events